Visiting the Algarve in January

The small print: Portugalist may generate a commission from mentioned products or services. This is at no additional cost to you and it does not affect our editorial standards in any way. All content, including comments, should be treated as informational and not advice of any kind, including legal or financial advice. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or damages arising from its display or use. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement. [More Info]

Originally published in Dec 2016 & last updated on November 29, 2023
Written by

Flights to Faro are the perfect way to beat the January blues, and don’t worry about this trip breaking the bank: January in the Algarve is very affordable, and perfect for post-Christmas budgets.

The weather remains relatively mild compared to many other European destinations, with daytime temperatures averaging around 15°C (59°F) when it’s sunny. While swimming might be a bit too brisk, the Algarve still offers crisp, sunny days perfect for exploring its charming towns, picturesque landscapes, and stunning coastline.

With fewer tourists around, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the authentic Algarvian culture and savour the region’s culinary delights without the crowds. Whether you’re seeking peaceful strolls along deserted beaches, scenic hikes through lush countryside, or simply a peaceful retreat, the Algarve in January provides a tranquil and rejuvenating escape.

Reasons to visit the Algarve in January

  • With an average of five hours of sunshine each day, a visit to the Algarve is a great way to lift Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  • It’s reasonably warm, but definitely not hot. The temperature is perfect for golfing, hiking, mountain biking and lingering on café terraces.
  • It’s the low season so, aside from a few people that have come to Portugal for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the Algarve is quiet and you’ll have most of the beaches to yourself. It may not be warm enough for swimming, but it’s perfect for relaxing strolls along the beach.
  • The atmosphere is more peaceful and local than noisy and touristy.
  • It’s a cheap time to visit. Hotels and car rental are both a fraction of what they’d cost during July and August, and you can have a very enjoyable trip for very little money.

The other side of the coin is that January can be quite quiet and warm winter days aren’t guaranteed. However, if you’re looking for some peace and relaxation and you’re willing to take a gamble on the weather, this is a good time to visit. 

What to Pack

January in the Algarve calls for a different approach to packing compared to the warmer months. While days can still offer mild temperatures, it’s wise to come prepared for cooler evenings and the possibility of overcast days. Here’s what to consider for your January trip:

  1. Warm weather clothing: Although January in the Algarve is cooler than the summer months, you may still experience relatively mild daytime temperatures, so packing some t-shirts and lighter clothing items is a good idea. It’s probably too cool for shorts and swimwear, but perhaps pack a pair just in case.
  2. Light jackets or sweaters: Evenings are typically much cooler in January, and occasional overcast days may call for an extra layer. Carrying a light jacket or sweater allows you to comfortably adapt to the changing weather conditions.
  3. Waterproof clothing: To be prepared for unexpected showers, pack a raincoat or carry an umbrella to keep dry. Hopefully, you’ll get lucky and get a full week of sunshine though.
  4. Sunscreen: Despite the milder temperatures, the sun can still shine brightly during the day. Don’t forget to include sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection in your packing list to shield your skin from UV rays. A hat is also recommended.
  5. Comfortable shoes: The Algarve is ideal for exploring on foot, even in January. Ensure you bring comfortable and sturdy shoes suitable for sightseeing and outdoor activities. As the region’s streets often have cobblestone surfaces, it’s best to avoid high heels and opt for flat-soled shoes that provide stability.
  6. Light layers: January weather can be somewhat changeable, sometimes with periods of sunshine and clouds. Packing lightweight layers allows you to easily adjust to varying conditions and ensures your comfort throughout your visit to the Algarve. It also helps if the weather is humid, meaning you don’t get too hot too quickly.
  7. Nightime clothes: Houses in Portugal can be cold in winter, so be sure to pack pyjamas and a few lawyers for wearing when you’re inside.

What’s on in the Algarve in January?

Festa das Chouriças, Querença

The Festa das Chouriças, or Sausage Festival, may have a straightforward name, but its significance and history run deep in the Algarve’s culture. Held annually on a weekend near January 18th, in honor of Saint Luis, the protector of animals, this tradition dates back centuries. Algarve families would raise pigs throughout the year, seeking Saint Luis’s protection from diseases that could affect their livestock. In gratitude, locals gather in the charming village square to offer their finest chorizo to the saint. If you have the opportunity to attend this gastronomic festival, you’ll find a day filled with entertainment and cultural experiences.

The festivities include a bustling market of local products, a chance to sample grilled sausages and chorizos in the village square, traditional music, dances, and even an auction of the finest products. It’s a delightful way to immerse yourself in local traditions and savor the delicious specialties of the Algarve.

This event usually takes place in the second half of January. 

Encontro de Janeiras, Silves

This is a tradition which dates back to ancient times. The Romans would greet each other with seasonal songs to begin the year, evoking the god Janus (the gatekeeper of heaven). Today the event is more Christian, with local musical groups gathering to sing songs celebrating the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the Three Kings.

Entrance is free, and usually takes place around the 5th of the month.

Al Mutamid Music Festival

This world music festival is named after Muhammad Al-Mutamid, the 11th Century ruler of the taifa of Seville. Concerts are held across the region and have a real Moorish flavour. There are acts from North Africa, the Middle East, and Andalusia. A great way to get a bit of culture during your trip.

This event sometimes place in February. For dates and more information, check out the organiser’s Facebook page.

Weather in the Algarve in January

In January, the Algarve experiences its coolest temperatures, but it remains significantly warmer than Northern Europe. During this month, you can anticipate highs of approximately 16°C (60.8°F) and average temperatures around 12°C (53.6°F). Rainfall is minimal, with an average of just nine rainy days scattered throughout January, making it quite unlikely that you’ll encounter wet weather during your visit.

Have you visited the Algarve in January, or are you visiting it this year? Share your thoughts or ask a question by leaving a comment below.

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing or via the site's contact form.

Spotted a mistake? Suggest a correction

There are 15 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.


  1. Hi James and Contributers,
    We’re near Lagos until 14 Feb with two children 4 & 9. Any suggestions of things to see/places to visit on wet days would be much appreciated please. Thanks Jo.

  2. We are planning a trip to The Algarve in January. We would appreciate any information about weather etc.
    Thanks. Audrey in Canada!

    • Hi Audrey,

      From past experience, the weather in January can vary. Some years are better than others.

      It’s hard to predict but I would expect to have mild weather overall (12°C – 16°C) with sunshine during the day. The evenings are likely to be cold and it’s possible that you’ll be cold indoors. This isn’t so much the case in bigger hotels, but it can be in an apartment, for example, as central heating isn’t very common here. Places with a fireplace can get around this issue.

  3. Thank you James we are looking forward to some warmer weather too. Not long to wait now and getting excited at visiting pastures new.

    • Hi Carol,

      January is a quiet month on the Algarve, but it’s usually quite pleasant here. There are a couple of festivals and things happening that are worth seeing, but otherwise it’s a good month for sightseeing, walking, and ambling about (things that aren’t always possible during the very hot summer).

    • Carol, Just read you are travelling on 13th Jan and so are we! ..from Gatwick easy-jet. We will be staying in Tavira My sister is there already she travelled from Canada. She says it is quite cold in the apartment although it is quite new and has central heating…so she says to bring warm slippers and nightwear!

  4. And dont forget the great food….nothing better than Piri piri chicken with a fresh salad and a price to surprise you. Especially in Silves!

  5. We have a home in Tavira at the other end of the Algarve, and will be in Vila Real de S. Antonio for the parade of kings on Jan 5th. It’s good fun and the kings catch the ferry over to Ayamonte as part of the entertainment. 🙂 I’ve not been to the celebration in Silves but would like to.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.